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Brucellar Testicular Abscess Case Presenting as a

Brucellar Testicular Abscess Case Presenting
as a Testicular Mass: Can Color Doppler Sonography
Be Used in Differentiation?
Testiküler Kitle Şikayetiyle Gelen Brusellar Testiküler Apse Olgusu:
Renkli Doppler Sonografi Ayırıcı Tanıda Kullanılabilir mi?
Furkan KAYA,1 Ali KOCYIGIT,1 Cihan KAYA,1 Ibrahim TURKCUER,2 Mustafa SERINKEN,2 Nevzat KARABULUT1
Department of Radiology, Pamukkale University Faculty of Medicine, Denizli;
Department of Emergency Medicine, Pamukkale University Faculty of Medicine, Denizli
Brucellosis is an endemic disease in various regions of the world.
Testicular abscess is a very rare complication of brucellosis which
can be misdiagnosed as testicular mass and leads to unnecessary
orchiectomy. To our knowledge there are only eight reported cases
in the literature with a brucellar testicular abscess. We present a
case of testicular abscess due to brucellosis diagnosed with serologic tests and color Doppler sonography, and treated with antibiotics and fine needle aspiration.
Brusellozis dünyanın değişik yerlerinde olan endemik bir hastalıktır.
Testiküler apse brosellozisin son derece nadir bir komplikasyonu olup
testiküler kitle olarak tanı alabilir ve gereksiz orşiektomiye yol açabilir. Bildiğimiz kadarıyla literatürde brusellar testiküler apseli sadece
sekiz vaka bildirilmiştir. Biz burada serolojik testler ve renkli Doppler
sonografi ile tanısı konulan ve antibiyotik ve ince iğne aspirasyonu ile
tedavisi yapılan brusellozise bağlı testiküler apse olgusunu sunuyoruz.
Key words: Abscess; brucellosis; color Doppler sonography; testicular; ultrasonography.
Brucellosis is an endemic, zoonotic disease in some regions
of the world and affects some organs and tissues in human.
Direct contact with infected animals or ingestion of contaminated animal products are routes of transmission to
humans.[1,2] Brucellar orchi-epididymitis is a complication of
systemic brucellosis in human and can be seen in 5.7% of
affected patients.[1] Brucellar testicular abscess can be misdiagnosed as necrotic testicular mass leading to unnecessary
orchiectomy.[3-8] Thus the diagnosis of abscess is of critical
importance to avoid the testicular loss in these patients. We
present a 23-year-old man with a brucellar testicular abscess
Anahtar sözcükler: Apse; brusellozis; renkli Doppler sonografi; testiküler; ultrasonografi.
which was diagnosed with color Doppler sonography findings, and treated with drainage and administration of combined antibiotic therapy.
Case Report
A 23-year-old male patient was admitted to Emergency
Department due to right testicular swelling for 2 months.
The patient declared that he was prescribed gentamycine
1x100 mg in 7 days by a family physician one month before
his admission, but his complaints continued. The patient
had no history of direct contact with infected animals but
had a history of relatively recent ingestion of unpasteurized
Submitted: January 23, 2014 Accepted: February 16, 2014 Published online: June 2, 2014
Correspondence (İletişim): Dr. Ali Koçyiğit. Pamukkale Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi,
Radyoloji Anabilim Dalı, Denizli, Turkey.
e-mail: [email protected]
Turk J Emerg Med
doi: 10.5505/1304.7361.2014.82698
Turk J Emerg Med
cheese. Physical examination revealed a body temperature
of 36.5 °C and blood pressure of 110/70 mmHg. There was
a right testicular swelling and tenderness. There was no
color change on the scrotum. His laboratory findings were:
leukocytes 8470/mm3, hemoglobin 13.4 g/dl, thrombocytes
467.000/mm3, ALT (alanine aminotranspherase) 24.7 IU/L
(normal range, 7-40), AST (aspartate aminotranspherase)
27.1 IU/L (normal range, 8-41), ESR (erytrocyt sedimentation
rate) 19 mm/h, CRP (C-reactive protein) 0.335 mg/dl (normal
value, 5 mg/dl), and the Brucella agglutinin titer was positive
at 1/1280. The blood cultures of the patient were negative.
Sonographic evaluation was performed with a Nemio ultrasound scanner using a 9-12 MHz linear transducer (Toshiba,
Tokyo, Japan). Real time scrotal sonography revealed an
anechoic cystic lesion with irregular borders and thick wall
measuring 31x41x74 mm, and containing low level echoes
and with few septa, which replaced almost entire right testis (Figure 1a). The peripheral border of the lesion and the
septa were hypervascular on color Doppler sonography suggestive for an abscess (Figure 1b). The right epididimis and
entire right testis tissue were also hypervacularised on Doppler sonography consistent with orchi-epididymitis. The left
testis was normal on scrotal gray-scale and Doppler sonography. The patient was diagnosed as brucellar orchi-epididymitis with right testicular abscess based on the constellation
of laboratory and sonography findings. Antibiotherapy with
doxycycline (100 mg twice daily) and streptomycine (1 gr
daily) has been initiated for 7 days. However, the diameter
of the abscess did not change at the end of 7 days, and we
decided to drain the abscess using a fine needle aspiration
to reduce the size of lesion and increase the efficacy of medication. The patient received a 6-week course of oral doxycycline (100 mg twice daily) and rifampicin (600 mg once
daily), and follow-up scrotal sonography after two months
showed complete resolution of the lesion leaving a residual
small area of heterogeneity in the right testis (Figure 1c).
mitis is very rare, and only eight cases have been reported
in the literature to our knowledge.[3-8,10,11] The characteristics
of the reported cases are summarized in Table 1. In the acute
Brucellosis, caused primarily by B. melitensis, remains the
most common zoonotic disease all over the world, and it is
endemic particularly in Mediterranean countries.[1,2,7] Brucellosis is a multisystemic infectious disease which may cause
suppurative complications most frequently at the bones
and joints.[2] Most common clinical findings of brucellosis
are fever, osteoarticular involvement, and sweating. Genitourinary system is the second most common site of focal brucellosis which can appear as orchi-epididymitis or nephritis.
Orchi-epididymitis can be seen in 5.7% of affected patients.
Brucellar abscess occurs when the necrosis occurs in the
region of granulomatous infection induced by the persistence of the bacteria in macrophages.[9] Testicular abscesses
associated with brucellosis in the process of orchi-epididy-
Figure 1. (a) Gray-scale sonography image demonstrates a large
anechogenic cystic mass with a thick sept (arrow) and pressed testicular parenchyma (asterix). (b) Color Doppler sonography image
demonstrates the hypervascularity in the thick sept (arrow head),
pressed testicular parenchyma (short arrow) and epididymis (long
arrow) resembling orchi-epididymitis. (c) Gray-scale sonography
image demonstrates heterogeneous hypoechogenic area (arrows)
at the right testis on follow up sonography after 2 months.
Kaya F et al.
Brucellar Testicular Abscess Case Presenting as a Testicular Mass
Table 1. Charesteristics of patients with testicular brucellar abscess
Fernandez et al.
Age Imaging findings
(years) (US and CDUS)
Increased testicular size
double drugx
Castillo Soria et al.
Complete destruction of testis
Bayram et al.
Hypoechoic tumor-like lesion
STA Positive
double drugx
B.melitensis Orchiectomy,
Gonzalez Sanchez et al.
Hypoechoic tumor-like lesion
double drugx
Kocak et al.
Hypoechoic tumor-like mass
STA Positive
Akinci et al.
STA Positive
B.melitensis Orchiectomy,
Koc et al.
Hypervascular, thick-walled lesion
STA Positive
B.melitensis Drainage, D+R
Yemisen et al.
Hypoechoic, No biopsy
STA Positive
STA Positive
heterogeneous, cystic lesion
Case in this study
Anechoic cystic lesion with
hypervascularization in
thetestis and epididimis
C+D: Ciprofloxacin+doxycycline; CDUS: Color Doppler sonography; CGI: Choronic granulamatous inflammation; D+R: Doxycycline+rifampicin; D+R+S:
Doxycycline+rifampicin+streptomycine; ND: Not defined; NGO; Necrotizing granulomatous orchitis; S+D: Streptomycine + doxycycline; STA: Standard
tube agglutination; US: Ultrasonography. x: Possibly doxycycline and rifampicin.
phase of brucellosis, blood cultures are positive in only 1030% of patients and clinical findings are generally nonspecific. Incidence of blood culture positivity decreases by the
duration of infection. The main diagnostic criteria for brucellosis are high agglutination titers (>1/160) for anti-Brucella
antibodies using the standard tube agglutination (STA) test,
and the presence of the clinical signs and symptoms of brucellosis.[1] In chronic brucellosis the STA test can reveal negative or very low agglutination titers (<1/160). In some cases
of brucellosis, anemia (35-55%) or leukopenia (21%) can be
observed.[12] In our case, the leukocytes and hemoglobin values were within normal range and there was no abnormal
result in other blood tests as well. The diagnosis of brucellar
testicular abscess was established by the positive serologic
test results, history of ingestion of unpasteurized dairy product, and the visualization of dense cystic lesion with thick
wall on gray-scale sonography and showing hypervascularization in the region of epididymis and around the abscess
on Doppler sonography.
The main differential diagnosis of testicular brucellar abscess is a necrotic tumor. Failure to diagnose the abscess
appropriately can lead to unnecessary orchiectomy in patients with delayed diagnosis due to large suspicious lesions
which cause partial or total destruction of the testis.[10] Six
patients underwent orchiectomy with combined antibiotic
treatment among the reported eight cases in the literature.
A conservative treatment with antibiotics or combined
antibiotic therapy and drainage is usually adequate in the
treatment of brucellar testicular abscess. Two patients[10,11]
underwent conservative treatment with antibiotics and
drainage as in our patient. In the report of Yemisen et al.[11]
orchiectomy was offered to the patient in the one month
follow up because of no change in gray-scale sonographic
findings but patient did not accept the surgery. In the report
of Koc et al.,[10] the testicular abscess was diagnosed based
on color Doppler sonography and the drainage and the administration of combined antibiotic therapy were applied.
In our case, the initial clinical diagnosis was also testicular
abscess upon clinical, laboratory and color Doppler sonography findings. We believe that color Doppler sonography
has an important role for the diagnosis of abscess as it shows
hypervascularization at the region of orchi-epididimitis.
Therefore, brucellar testicular abscess can be accurately diagnosed by color Doppler sonography on the basis of hypervascularization in the region of epididymis and testis
(i.e. orchi-epididymitis) in a patient with consistent clinical
and laboratory findings. Color Doppler sonography was per-
Turk J Emerg Med
formed in two reported cases[8,10] and hypervascularization
in the testicular and epididimal region was the main finding
in both examinations.
In conclusion, testicular abscess is a very rare complication of
brucellosis which can be under or misdiagnosed. The initial
diagnosis of brucellar testicular abscess can be considered
in patients with a history of unpasteurized dairy products
consumption, clinical findings and serologic test results, and
suggestive color Doppler sonography findings for orchi-epididymitis. Color Doppler sonography is instrumental in the
clinical diagnosis when the gray-scale sonography findings
resemble the necrotic testicular tumor.
simulating testis tumor. Int J Urol 2004;11:683-5.
4. Fernández Fernández A, Jiménez Cidre M, Cruces F, Guil M,
Bethencurt R, Dehaini A, et al. Brucellar orchitis with abscess.
[Article in Spanish] Actas Urol Esp 1990;14:387-9. [Abstract]
5. Castillo Soria JL, Bravo de Rueda Accinelli C. Genital brucellosis. A rare cause of testicular abscess. [Article in Spanish] Arch
Esp Urol 1994;47:533-6. [Abstract]
6. Bayram MM, Kervancioğlu R. Scrotal gray-scale and color
Doppler sonographic findings in genitourinary brucellosis. J
Clin Ultrasound 1997;25:443-7.
7. González Sánchez FJ, Encinas Gaspar MB, Napal Lecumberri
S, Rajab R. Brucellar orchiepididymitis with abscess. [Article in
Spanish] Arch Esp Urol 1997;50:289-92. [Abstract]
Conflict of Interest
8. Akinci E, Bodur H, Cevik MA, Erbay A, Eren SS, Ziraman I, et al.
A complication of brucellosis: epididymoorchitis. Int J Infect
Dis 2006;10:171-7.
The authors declare that there is no potential conflicts of interest.
9. Cosme A, Barrio J, Ojeda E, Ortega J, Tejada A. Sonographic findings in brucellar hepatic abscess. J Clin Ultrasound
10.Koc Z, Turunc T, Boga C. Gonadal brucellar abscess: imaging
and clinical findings in 3 cases and review of the literature. J
Clin Ultrasound 2007;35:395-400.
1. Pappas G, Akritidis N, Bosilkovski M, Tsianos E. Brucellosis. N
Engl J Med 2005;352:2325-36.
2. Gür A, Geyik MF, Dikici B, Nas K, Cevik R, Sarac J, et al. Complications of brucellosis in different age groups: a study of
283 cases in southeastern Anatolia of Turkey. Yonsei Med J
3. Kocak I, Dündar M, Culhaci N, Unsal A. Relapse of brucellosis
11.Yemisen M, Karakas E, Ozdemir I, Karakas O. Brucellar testicular abscess: a rare cause of testicular mass. J Infect Chemother
12.Akdeniz H, Irmak H, Seçkinli T, Buzgan T, Demiröz AP. Hematological manifestations in brucellosis cases in Turkey. Acta
Med Okayama 1998;52:63-5.
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